What is Managed Hosting?

Just What is Managed Hosting?

If you’ve ever Googled “What is managed hosting?”,  the results can seem overwhelming. “Managed” is an overloaded term, with different hosting companies implementing different meanings. In this post, Media Temple shares how we implement “managed” such that you know what to expect with our hosting solutions.

Here is a clear definition, confirmed by industry analysts, on the meaning of  “managed” in the hosting world.

Certain characteristics must be met for a hosting solution to be considered ”managed,” – the full extent of which may vary depending on the type of hosting (i.e. WordPress, Grid, VPS, or Cloud). However, these characteristics describe the software managing the hosting solution and its performance:

  • OS installation and updates
  • Application installation and updates
  • Malware scanning and cleanup
  • Performance monitoring
  • Backups

At Media Temple, we made all of our managed hosting solutions fit the definition provided above – from WordPress and shared hosting to VPS and cloud hosting services for AWS.

As an example, let’s examine DV – VPS Managed Hosting at Media Temple:

  • Media Temple manages and patches the shared platform’s underlying OS (e.g. CentOS)
  • DV Managed, with either Plesk Panel or cPanel, includes more than 200 useful applications. Each app can be installed directly on your sites with just a few clicks, without the configuration hassles and other complications of traditional software installs. Popular apps include:
    • WordPress
    • PinnacleCart
    • Drupal
    • Joomla
  • Malware scanning and cleanup for 5 sites.
  • Every DV service includes Media Temple’s exclusive, real-time server status system, providing you with an instant view of your servers’ health. Monitor an auto-updating stream of your server’s CPU, memory, disk, load and network usage directly from the Account Center. Real time and Historical Server Status information is also available via your Account Center anytime.
  • Media Temple provides daily backups (for a period of 7 days) plus weekly backups (for a period of 4 weeks). Restoration services can be purchased through Advanced Support.

Depending on the type of hosting solution, the definition of “managed” hosting may be satisfied in a slightly different way and may include more features. For example, the generally accepted definition of Managed WordPress includes the aforementioned bullet points plus multiple tiers of caching (architecture), and a set of developer-friendly tools (software).  By example, Media Temple’s Managed WordPress offering includes four layers of caching — Varnish, Memcached, PHP APC, and storage L2 caching to maximize performance by minimizing calls to the disks —  and developer tools like WP-CLI, SSH, FTP, as well as site staging.

In sum, “managed” hosting is really about managing the server through software. While Media Temple automates this, some companies may do this manually and include (or exclude) some other facets of system administration such as configuration and performance tuning. Look carefully and make sure you are picking the right solutions for your business needs.

Learn more about Web Hosting offerings from Media Temple, today!
Note: This original 2015 post was refreshed in 2019.


  • This explanation is super-helpful and clarifies what I can expect from Media Temple on the server-side. Closer to the client side, I do a fair amount of management for sites that are hosted on my Grid account. Not sure if I’m a “reseller” of sorts for the inherent reliability of the MT hosting, and if “managed hosting” isn’t the proper term for server-side site management by developers … what is?

  • Frank McClung

    Alec, I think that it should be clearly stated (and maybe I missed it in the article or on the WP Managed hosting page), that WordPress Managed Hosting with Media Temple IS shared hosting. Thus, all the same issues with the Grid and another shared site hogging resources on your cluster will impact your WP Managed site. I found this out the hard way. I also discovered the hard way when I called in for a slowness issue with a client site on the WP Managed that Media Temple techs can’t see the loads on those managed servers…because MT’s Managed WordPress hosting is on GoDaddy Servers. Finding this out did not make me happy. Please correct me if I am wrong in anyway about where the WordPress Managed servers are and who controls them. When GoDaddy took over MT, this is what we were all afraid of as customers.

    • Hi Frank,

      First, thank you for being a loyal Media Temple customer for the past eleven years, we appreciate your business.
      We are sorry to hear about your issue and are glad it’s resolved.

      Let me answer your second question first: While we continue to operate separately from GoDaddy, we do leverage GoDaddy’s top notch data center (from a security, operations and scale perspective) when it comes to our Managed WordPress solution. This allows our own engineers, product managers, and UX team to focus on designing the premium features and user experience that would meet the needs of our customers. In other words: While we joined technology forces with GoDaddy, this is a Media Temple product and you are still very much a Media Temple customer.

      Now to your first point: Yes, our WordPress hosting solution utilizes clustered/shared hosting architecture, which allows hundreds of servers to handle the load to improve performance and reliability. Grid and WordPress are similar in this vein. However, our Managed WordPress also has improved caching and other architectural improvements, all of which are optimized and supported for WordPress, which separates it from Grid. As to your point about WordPress suffering from the same maladies as Grid, this is true insofar that these are issues (such as DDOS) that affect all forms of shared hosting. That being said, the clustered architecture is designed to handle traffic spikes much better than VPS or other forms of hosting. I hope you find this answer helpful. ^AR

      • Frank McClung

        Thanks for following up Alec. So the short answer is: Yes, the servers are not at MT’s facilities but at GoDaddy. And yes, they are shared servers. And yes they suffer from the same issues as the Grid in dealing with neighbors who take up too many resources. So MT doesn’t operate their on servers with WP Managed Hosting. And MT engineers are not running the show with the Godaddy WP managed servers. This hurts MT’s customers and tarnishes MTs stellar reputation. It’s a bit like MT has become a car dealer. Sad.

        When will the MT support techs be able to access all the WordPress server info they need to diagnose issues for customers? I’ve called in several times with latency issues and they all say that not being able to access server load info? is a problem that needs to be addressed.

  • Masterarts

    What is managed hosting, this is very well explained in your article. I agree that word, “managed,” has such an great impact. What are your thoughts about Cloudways managed cloudhosting that offers cloud application management & 1 click managed cloud hosting platform to host and manage websites.

  • Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Useful and informative article you have written . Its also effective specially for me . I appreciate this blog

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